Blackpool dad fighting for his life after a common cold turned into sepsis

A Blackpool man is in intensive care fighting for his life after a common cold developed into sepsis and resulted in a leg amputation and multiple organ failure on his 40th birthday.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 9:42 am

Dad-of-one David Cram, better known as Kenny, 40, of Glastonbury Avenue, Blackpool, put his symptoms down to a cold and a muscle injury picked up playing in a Sunday league football match for the Saddle FC on January 5.

After initially being prescribed painkillers, Kenny, who has a five-year-old daughter, Robyn, ended up at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department two days later, where he was later diagnosed with sepsis.

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Blackpool dad David 'Kenny' Cram is fighting for his life in Blackpool Vic after what he thought was a cold turned into sepsis. Credit: Lee Cram

He said: “I don’t think any of us realised at the time when he was in there how serious this was.

“He’s a fit and healthy guy, so he was still walking around attached to a drip while his leg was dying and his kidneys were beginning to fail.”

Kenny, older brother to Lee and Stephen, was told he would need surgery to release pressure in his leg to save it but the anaesthetist who met with him immediately contacted a doctor from intensive care and Kenny was diagnosed with sepsis.

The sepsis – sometimes known as blood poisoning – was caused by a strain of bacteria called streptoccocus A resulting in a throat infection, which Kenny and his family thought was just a cold.

Kenny is a keen footballer and suffered a groin sprain during a Sunday league match for the Saddle FC in Blackpool. Credit: Lee Cram

He was put into an induced coma and rushed to the operating room in a bid to save his leg.

Lee Cram said he got a call from Kenny’s wife Keeley asking him to rush to A&E when his brother was taken in the ambulance.

“All the odds have been against him the whole time, and we thought he was going to die,” he said.

“His leg was hard as a rock, and completely swollen, he stopped passing urine and had no pulse in his arms, they were just freezing cold.”

Kenny Cram with younger brother Lee, who told the Gazette about his brother's struggles with sepsis. Credit: Lee Cram

After undergoing surgery and being brought out of his induced coma on January 13, Kenny suffered three cardiac arrests. Medics discovered his leg tissue had already died and was putting strain on his weakened heart.

They were left with no choice but to amputate his entire left leg from the hip on January 16 – his 40th birthday – to save his life.

Kenny was last night conscious in intensive care, but unable to speak or move.

Describing the moment his brother learned his leg had been amputated, Lee said: “I held his hand as he closed his eyes, shook his head like he couldn’t believe it, and shortly afterwards had a fourth cardiac arrest.

Kenny Cram, pictured with wife Keeley and their daughter Robyn, aged five. Credit: Lee Cram

“We could have lost him so many times, but he keeps fighting it.

“He still has a massive open wound where his leg was removed because they have to contain any remaining infection to stop it spreading, so it has to be closed slowly.

“His kidneys still aren’t working so he’s on dialysis, and his liver and heart aren’t functioning properly either because the sepsis caused multiple organ failure.

“Mentally he seems okay, but obviously there is going to be a lot of psychological trauma for him to get through after this.

“A cardiologist has told us he may need a temporary pacemaker, but I’m hopeful for his recovery.”

He said his brother is slowly showing signs of improvement and now family and friends are fund-raising to help with his recovery.

They currently have no idea when he will be out of intensive care.

Lee added: “The staff at Blackpool Vic have been absolutely exemplary – they saved my brother’s life.

“I just can’t thank them enough. The doctors are fantastic but the nurses have been incredible too, they look after all families on the intensive care unit so well.”

Lee said Kenny will no longer be able to continue his job delivering parcels for his employer DPD, but he wanted to thank them “for being so amazing” for their continued support since his illness.

A Just Giving page has been set up by family friend Laura Harvie, to raise £10,000 for Kenny and his family during and after his recovery.

A fund-raising event for Kenny is also currently being arranged by friends and family in Blackpool, and by wife Keeley’s family in North Wales.

To donate raffle prizes, please contact Lee Cram, Steve Whitmore or Adam Casson on Facebook.

To donate directly, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kenny-cramWarning signs

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which can occur after even the most minor of bacterial infections, and now Lee and the rest of his family want to make others aware of the warning signs.

Anyone who suspects sepsis should call 999 immediately. Symptoms in adults include:

> acting confused or slurring speech

> blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue

> a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it

> difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast.

Not everyone gets all the symptoms.

Lee urged anyone with unusual pain or prolonged flu-like symptoms to see a doctor.